I enjoy reading the Best Of lists at the end of each year. I like knowing people’s thoughts on the best movie, best TV show, person of the year, and, especially, the best books of the year. Most of the time I haven’t seen the movies or the TV shows, but I’ve usually read some of the books.

Here’s a few that stood out to me this year. Since I write historicals, I have to mention four. The first is Robyn DeHart’s The Secrets of Mia Danvers. Jack the Ripper stalks a blind heroine. Just the premise gives me shivers. The book was excellent! Sophie Jordan’s How To Lose a Bride in One Night was also one of my faves—and not just because it’s dedicated to me (but it didn’t hurt).  Also read two books that are 2014 releases, but since I read them in 2014, I feel entitled to mention them here.


One is Vanessa Kelly’s Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom, which releases in April. The second is A Kiss of Lies by Bronwen Evans, which releases on the 14th of this month. Both were excellent. I couldn’t believe my good fortune in being provided with early copies. Put them on your buy-lists.


I also read a lot of NA (New Adult) and YA (Young Adult) this year. My friends were reading and writing it, and I found myself wondering what all the conversation was about. First of all, let me say, you do not have to be young to enjoy either of these genres. I’m over forty, and I still find the characters quite appealing. My two favorite NAs were J. Lynn’s Wait for You and Sophie Jordan’s Foreplay. These books had heroes that might teach a Regency gentleman a thing or two.


And while everyone was discussing the Hunger Games movie and the ending of the Divergent series (read both series), I was reading The Razorland series by Ann Aguirre. People, if you haven’t read it and you even sort of liked The Hunger Games or Divergent, you must read it. It’s just as good, if not better, and doesn’t end with the controversy of Allegiant.


I could go on and on. I haven’t even mentioned contemporary, paranormal, or erotic romance, but I don’t feel like I read enough of those genres this year to give recommendations. I need to work on that in 2014.

What were some of your favorite books this past year? What releases are you looking forward to?

17 thoughts on “(Some of) The Best Books of 2013

  1. Sue Gorman says:

    I really enjoyed reading Lauren WIllig’s Pink Carnation series. Mystery, spies, witty dialogue and memorable characters. I enjoy Lauren’s writing so much that I read and loved her stand alone novel Ashford Affair which came out in 2013. Read Jessica Brockmole’s Letters from Skye and Last Camelia by Sarah Jio both published in 2013 and mentioned in Lauren’s blog.
    I “discovered” Grace Burrowes in 2013 and have read many of her books including the Christmas stories which I love. Vanessa Kelly’s Secrets for Seducing A Royal Bodyguard was excellent as well.
    I love reading novellas and my favorite was The Spy Wore Blue Just loved it, the setting, mystery and dialog and the sizzle.

    1. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

      Thank you, Sue! Great authors in your favorites!

  2. Karen Johnston says:

    I mostly read contemporary so Ive got too many favorites to name! 😉 But a couple that I really enjoyed are Love Realized by Melanie Codina. Shes a new author I believe but wow…shes awesome! Then theres The Best Man by a lady named Kristan Higgans. You might know her! 😉 I still find myself laughing out loud when I think back to certain parts of that story. It was wonderful!
    I have a serious addiction to contemporary series. I just love them! Ive read several series this past year that were great too! Whiskey Creek by Brenda Novak, Fools Gold by Susan Mallery , Lucky Harbor and Animal Magnitism by Jill Shalvis. All were great!!!

    1. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

      I know A LOT of the authors on your list, Karen. Great writers 🙂

  3. Sarah Rosenbarker says:

    Favorite books of the year….It’s so hard to pick because I read so many wonderful books. The ones that first came to mind though are “Darius” by Grace Burrowes, “Love’s Reckoning” by Laura Frantz and “Foreplay” by Sophie Jordan. All three of those books had me thinking about them for days and weeks after reading them. I also thought that your “True Spies” was fantastic, funny and a bit emotional for me. I read a few older books this year that made their way to the top of my list as well like Laura Kinsale’s “Flowers From the Storm” and “The Shadow and the Star”. There were so many great books I read this year but those 6 stand out the most for me this year.

    1. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

      I definitely didn’t list all of mine, Sarah. I didn’t know you just read Flowers From the Storm. I loved it!

      1. Sarah Rosenbarker says:

        I read it last February or March after seeing people mention it on FB. You have to remember I have only been reading romance, with bedroom scenes, for two years this month. I still have a lot of authors to “discover”.

        1. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

          Actually, I only read it 4 years ago, so it’s relatively “recent” to me too.

  4. catslady says:

    I loved The Hunger Games movies as I did the books. It’s harder to pick books because I read a lot more books than see movies – I’ll just say that I read a lot of wonderful books with a preference to historicals 🙂

    1. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

      It IS so hard to pick. This is a only a short list of my faves, but I thought it was some books you guys might not have read.

  5. Vanessa Kelly Vanessa Kelly says:

    Shana, what a treat to log on today and see my beautiful cover – thank you, both for the shout-out and for your kindness in reading an advance copy of CONFESSIONS. As for some of my favorite books of last year, I loved Kristan’s The Best Man, your True Spies, and Elizabeth Hoyt’s Duke of Midnight. My favorite book of the year was probably Elizabeth Peter’s He Shall Thunder in the Sky. An older book, but I first read it this year – amazing.

    1. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

      Great choices, Vanessa. I haven’t read He Shall Thunder in the Sky. I’ll look it up.

  6. Mary Chen says:

    Oh, where should I begin…there were so many! I enjoyed your True Spies, Anna Campbell’s A Rake’s Midnight Kiss, Katharine Ashe’s I Married the Duke, Mary Jo Putney’s Sometimes a Rogue, Vanessa Kelly’s Lost in a Royal Kiss…SO MANY!

    1. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

      Where to start? That’s a great start! I am amazed to see my name on that list!

    2. Vanessa Kelly Vanessa Kelly says:

      Thank you, Mary!

  7. Marcy Shuler says:

    This is really difficult!
    Top 5 Reads of 2013:
    Hard as it Gets by Laura Kaye
    Unbound by Cara McKenna
    Always on My Mind by Jill Shalvis
    Three Little Words by Susan Mallery
    The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers

    Most Anticipated of 2014:
    HARD AS YOU CAN by Laura Kaye
    THE ESCAPE by Mary Balogh
    WAITING ON YOU by Kristan Higgins
    ONCE IN A LIFETIME by Jill Shalvis

    1. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

      Marcy, awesome list! I love a list like that. I can put some on my TBR list.

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